After sliding early in Sunday pre-market trade, overnight US equity futures managed to rebound on the now traditional low-volume levitation from a low of 1938 to just over 1950 at last check, ignoring the biggest single-name blowup story this morning which is the 23% collapse in Volkswagen shares, and instead have piggybacked on what we said was the last Hail Mary for the market: the hope of more QE from either the ECB or the BOJ. Tonight, it was the latter and while Japan's market are closed until Thursday for public holidays, its currency which is the world's preferred carry trade and the primary driver alongside VIX manipulation of the S&P500, has jumped from a low of just over 119 on Friday morning to a high of 120.4, pushing the entire US stock market with it.
As of today you really can pay your taxes, your credit cards, your mortgage, shop at Costco, and buy your groceries without so much as a bank account while using sound money.
Have you ever wondered how much money Russians spend on alcohol and tobacco compared to the rest of the world? Or how much households in Saudi Arabia allocate to recreation? The following cahrt from The Economist shows how much people in households around the world allocate to different expenses such as food, housing, recreation, transportation, and education.
The game is over. The trend has changed. And the Fed knows it. The question is: What will it do about it? Roll-over or fight? But will it matter much if it fights? Janet Yellen clearly lost the crowd this week as “accommodative” was met with a resounding SELL as confidence has been shaken. Her job is now to win back confidence. Whether she can or not is now largely determined how the binary set-up we face here plays out. Bottom line: Bulls need a 1998 like repeat to save this year. How did the Fed manage the big correction in the Fall of 1998: It cut rates of course...Well, good luck with that this year.
Non-bombasitc overview of the investment climate. No, the sky is not falling. This is not the end of days.
"At the start, China wasn't very confident. The worry was that there was no money for this."
Most just scoff at the notion that there has been a historic global Bubble, let alone that this Bubble has over recent months begun to burst. Talk of an EM and global crisis is viewed as wackoism. Except that the Federal Reserve clearly sees something pernicious in the world that requires shelving, after seven years, even the cutest little baby step move in the direction of policy normalization. The Fed and global central banks responded to the 2008 crisis with unprecedented measures. When the reflationary effects of these policies began to wane, the unfolding 2012 global crisis spurred desperate concerted do “whatever it takes” monetary stimulus. This phase has now largely run its course, and there is at this point little clarity as to what global central bankers might try next.
The Fed is truly cornered. If it fails to hike rates it will have no ammo for when the next crisis hits the US. But it if hikes rates now while the economy is so weak (more on this in a moment), it’s likely to kick off or deepen a recession.
After so many years of the “new normal,” we have to be reminded just how extraordinary — and unprecedented — the Fed’s actions since 2008 have been. But does it not occur to bankers, much less the media breathlessly covering stock and bond markets, that these actions have set America on a hopelessly dangerous and unsustainable path? Or that placing so much economic power in the hands of a select few might not end well?
Well, the "most anticipated" September FOMC meeting has come and gone, and no hike yet again. After the release of the FOMC statement, SPX rallied to a high of 2020, then sold down 30 handles into the close, and another -28 handles at today's open. Why? Well maybe people have finally realized the Fed is absolutely clueless, and that they have been completely misleading.
What was one "one and done", just became "none and done" as the Fed will no longer hike in 2015 and will certainly think twice before hiking ahead of the presidential election in 2016. By then the inventory liquidation-driven recession will be upon the US and the Fed will be looking at either NIRP or QE4. Worse, the Fed just admitted it is as, if not more concerned, with the market than with the economy. Worst, suddenly the market no longer wants a... dovish Fed?
Despite the approval of various Asian nation officials (e.g. Japan's Amari: "Fed decision appropriate"), it appears non-hawkishness is not enough to keep the dream alive. Japan's Nikkei 225 is down over 600 points from its post-FOMC spike highs, and USDJPY has tumbled over 1 handle - back below 120.00. Chinese stocks are extending losses after last night's late tumble, as ironically, China's securities regulator has uncovered a number of market manipulators who boosted prices of some stocks to sky-high levels during the peak of the bull market, attracting numerous followers who have suffered heavy losses in the recent market crash. The PBOC strengthened the Yuan fix for the 2nd day in a row (by the most in 2 weeks).
News That Matters
Historical comparisons, suggest to the FOMC to be extra careful, and don’t underestimate the trust the markets have for the FOMC to act rationally. We all expect the FOMC to act counter-cyclically; a rate rise now would be pro-cyclical, or making the problem worse. Anything FOMC members say after a ‘philosophical’ rate rise would greatly diminish its value. This comparison with Japan suggests that raising rates prematurely is detrimental and avoidable.
How did our financial system weaken to the point where a quarter of a percent increase in rates is more than it can handle?